Before Colorado’s founding, a plot of land in the San Luis Valley was granted in 1844 to two Mexican nationals as part of the 1 million-acre Sangre de Cristo land grant. That plot of land’s ownership and access is now the subject of one of Colorado’s longest-standing legal battles after outliving water rights disputes and other decades-long natural resources litigation like that over the Two Forks Dam.
According to a 2002 Colorado Supreme Court case, the Cielo Vista Ranch dispute can be summed up with the identification of a 1960 catalyst: Then-owner Jack Taylor fenced off portions of
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